October Wrap Up…

Welcome to my October Wrap Up. I have had an alright reading month, finishing 7 books (unfortunately only 1 book off my TBR). I’m happy with my reading this month. I received 10 ARC’s this month so I didn’t get to a lot of books off my TBR, but I’m fine with that.

I have reviews up or coming up for these books so as usual this is just going to be a brief run down on each book I read.

Without further ado, let’s get into my October Wrap Up…

Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu: I loved this book. A call the arms for teenage feminists, this book is both current and necessary. The story was fun and entertaining and the addition of the Moxie ‘zine’ was fantastic. A must read book for all Young Adults. MOXIE GIRLS FIGHT BACK.

Rory The Dinosaur Needs A Christmas Tree by Liz Climo: This book was absolutely beautiful. The perfect Christmas story for young readers and their families. This book is going to be a much-loved and much read book this holiday season.

Bouncing Bouncing Little Joeys by Lesley Gibbes: This Aussie Christmas story is absolutely perfect. An amazing Aussie story with fantastic illustrations. I adored this book and I would recommend it to all parents this Christmas.

Minefields by Hugh Riminton: This amazing memoir covers so many historic events that many readers will be familiar with. I loved this book. The writing was emotive, the subjects were moving and wonderfully described, and the layout was perfect. I honestly don’t have a bad word to say about this book.

Mirror Mirror by Cara Delevingne: A dark and twisted coming of age story. This book was filled with twists and turns that keep the reading turning the page. I loved the different family and friend dynamics that were explored in this book. This book will surprise and completely entertain readers.

Enid Blyton: Five Go Down Under by Sophie Hamley: If you are or were a fan of The Famous Five, this is the book for you. This quick read is both familiar and fresh. With the characters we know and love, this story will bring a smile to your face.

The Girls With The Lost Smile by Miranda Hart: Miranda Hart has done an amazing job with this book. It was sweet, funny and full of things to learn. I found myself smiling from start to finish. This is the perfect book for young readers and their families.

That’s it for my October Wrap Up. Let me know what you guys read this month.

Until my November Wrap Up…

Happy Reading…

❤ Gem

 

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Dumplin by Julie Murphy 

‘Dubbed “Dumplin’” by her former beauty queen mom, Willowdean has always been at home in her own skin. Her thoughts on having the ultimate bikini body? Put a bikini on your body. With her all-American-beauty best friend, Ellen, by her side, things have always worked . . .  until Will takes a job at Harpy’s, the local fast-food joint. There she meets Private School Bo, a hot former jock. Will isn’t surprised to find herself attracted to Bo. But she is surprised when he seems to like her back.

Instead of finding new heights of self-assurance in her relationship with Bo, Will starts to doubt herself. So she sets out to take back her confidence by doing the most horrifying thing she can imagine: entering the Miss Teen Blue Bonnet Pageant—along with several other unlikely candidates—to show the world that she deserves to be up there as much as any twiggy girl does.

Along the way, she’ll shock the hell out of Clover City—and maybe herself most of all.’

Willowdean is my spirit animal.

I was apprehensive going into this book, as someone who dealt with bullying as a teen because of my weight I was either going to love or hate this book. Thankfully I loved it.

Where was Willowdean when I was a teenager?

I completely related to Willowdean; her weight, her best friend, her job in fast food and her love of Dolly Parton, my love was country music in general, but who doesn’t love Dolly?

Whilst this book follows Willowdean, there is an amazing array of characters to fall in love with. I loved how strong the presence of Lucy was in this book, even though the character had died before the events of this book her character still had a really strong impact on the story.

Julie Murphy has done an amazing job in capturing the truly awkward teen years. Insecurity, self-doubt, self-esteem issues and the growth and downfall of relationships, are something that everyone can relate to and the way in which she covers these topics made for a really relatable and inclusive reading experience.

This book was a truly wonderful read. I don’t know anyone that wouldn’t be able to relate to the emotional roller coaster ride that is adolescence. The love/hate relationships, the confidence/self-doubt and the good/bad and ugly of teenage life is something that everyone understands regardless of size, sex or age.

I have recommended this book to everyone who would listen. This is a wonderful book that deserves to be devoured by all.

Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy is a heartwarming coming of age story that will leave you with the warm and fuzzy’s.

 

Bouncing Bouncing Little Joeys by Lesley Gibbes

‘A warm-and-fuzzy Aussie Christmas picture book to charm the whole family.

In this delightful Australian Christmas story, a group of little joeys – a red kangaroo, a numbat and a rock wallaby – are decorating the Christmas tree and getting ready for Santa’s arrival.’

I adored this book.

I am a massive fan of Australian Christmas stories, and this is one of the best I have read in years.

This beautiful book is filled with Australian animals frolicking in the bush as they prepare for Christmas. I loved getting to read about a Summer Christmas filled with much-loved Australian animals.

Lesley Gibbes’ wonderful story was perfectly complimented by Doris Chang’s beautiful illustrations.

I was genuinely blown away by how beautiful this story was. This book made me wish I had children in my immediate family to share it with.

This book was both beautiful to read and beautiful to look at. I can see this book becoming a much-loved and much read Christmas story in many Australian households.

I have already recommended this book to all the parents I know.

Bouncing Bouncing Little Joeys by Lesley Gibbes and Doris Chang is a must have book for all Aussie Kids this Holiday Season.

 

 

The Disney Book Tag…

This is a fun little tag I came across, and since I love Disney I couldn’t resist sharing it with you. I hope you enjoy it…

The Little Mermaid – A character who is out of their element; a “fish out of water”

Willowdean ‘Dumplin’ from Dumplin.

Cinderella – A character who goes through a major transformation

Rebecca Quinn from A Letter From Italy by Pamela Hart.

Snow White – A book with an eclectic cast of characters

Mirror Mirror by Cara Delevingne.

Sleeping Beauty – A book that put you to sleep

The Dream Walker by Victoria Carless. I just couldn’t get into this book.

The Lion King – A character who had something traumatic happen to them in their childhood:

Well this one is an easy one. Harry Potter. Is there a literary character that has had a more traumatic life.

The Beauty and The Beast – A book that you were intimidated by but found the story to be beautiful

The Illuminae Files. This book was massive and weird. But after reading it I was blown away by the fantastic story and beautiful, unique illustrations.

Aladdin – A character who gets their wish granted….for better or for worse

Lara Jean from Always and Forever, Lara Jean.

Mulan – A character who pretends to be someone or something they are not

Jess, Abbie and Ricky from Secrets Between Friends by Fiona Palmer.

Toy Story – A book with characters you wish would come to life

Nevermoor by Jessica Townsend. OMG how I wish these characters would come to life.

Disney Descendents – Your favorite villain or morally ambiguous character

Eric Northman from The Southern Vampire Mysteries.

Well that’s it from me, hit me up with your answers in the comments section.

Until next time…

Happy Reading…

❤ Gem

Enid Blyton: Five Go Down Under by Sophie Hamley 

‘The Famous Five have gone on their greatest adventure yet – a trip Down Under to Oz for some gap year fun.

Enid Blyton’s books are beloved the world over and The Famous Five have been the perennial favourite of her fans. Now, in this new Enid Blyton for Grown-Ups, Julian, George, Dick, Anne and Timmy head Down Under for some relaxing holiday fun. But will it be the adventure they had hoped for?

Setting up camp in Bondi they soon meet the Sydney Six, a couple of guitar-strumming Kiwis and a rogue South African and find themselves in the thick of Sydney’s real estate perils and the attempts of their omnipresent cousin Rupert Kirrin to buy up the local media.

But when the sun, surf and bluebottles have their revenge and things don’t quite go to plan, it’s time to head for the country for a spot of sheep-shearing and quad-bike riding. Will the country be kinder to them or will their close calls with the Australian wildlife have them heading back to the city before you can say decaf soy latte?’

I was a massive famous five fan growing up, so I was so excited to get my hands on this book. Unfortunately I have mixed feelings about this book.

I loved getting to catch up with characters that I grew up reading about. Having this pre-established relationship with these characters helped me to just jump in head first without needed any character developement or background information.

Sophie Hamley did an amazing job in capturing the personalities of these well-known characters. The attitudes and dynamics of these characters were absolutely perfect. I was genuinely surprised by how well these characters were portrayed.

The fact that the ‘five’ vistited the beach and the bush made for a lovely trip around Australia. These amazing scenes set up some genuinely funny, laugh out loud situations. From sharks, ferry’s and bluebottles, the ‘five’ definitely got to experience some of Australia’s best and worst aspects.

I was excited we met the New Zealanders and the South African characters. I found these characters fun and easy to read about. So I was disappointed when the ‘five’ moved out of the share house and into the house next to the ‘Sydney Seven’.

I didn’t really connect with the ‘Sydney Seven’. I found them a little over the top and hard to read about. This caused me to become less interested in the developement of the story.

I also had some issues with some of the dialog/jokes in this book. There were a few comments that I found un-necessary and frankly a bit of a turn off.

Overall these issues aren’t very big and are personal to me, but they were enough for me to lose interest in the story being told. As the book wasnt very big and was a pretty quick read, it wasnt hard to stick with it despite these issues.

If you are a fan of the Famous Five books, Five Go Down Under by Sophie Hamley will give you the nostalgia feels and bring back many great Famous Five memories.

 

 

Mirror Mirror by Cara Delevingne

‘Sixteen-year-old friends Red, Leo, Rose, and Naomi are misfits; still figuring out who they are and who they want to be. Life isn’t perfect, but music unites them, and they’re excited about what the future holds for their band, Mirror, Mirror. That is until Naomi vanishes before being pulled unconscious out of the river.

She’s left fighting for her life in a coma. The police claim it was a failed suicide attempt, but her friends aren’t convinced. Will Naomi ever wake? What -­ or perhaps who – led her to that hospital bed? How did her friends fail to spot the warning signs?

While Rose turns to wild partying and Leo is shrouded by black moods, Red sets out to uncover the truth. It’s a journey that will cause Red’s world to crack, exposing the group’s darkest secrets. Nothing will ever be the same again, because once a mirror is shattered, it can’t be fixed.’

A Dark and Twisted coming of age story.

This book had a lot going on at once, but it handled itself surprisingly well. I was worried that all of the different elements would get lost and become messy and convoluted but I was pleasantly surprised with the way the story progressed and covered the different story lines.

I absolutely loved the inclusion of mixed media in this book, (text messages, Instagram, etc), these additions really helped to keep the speed up and added to the narrative without needed extra chapters to explain what was going on. I also really loved the song lyrics scattered throughout the book. These lyrics helped to give a deeper understanding to the characters, especially Naomi.

Cara has created a wonderfully diverse array of characters in this story and all of them are relatable and solid. Being about the bring four different teenage characters to life and to make them all important to the story is truly a gift.

I was definitely surprised by some of the twists in this book. unfortunately the ending wasnt really a surprise. The story line revolving around Naomi’s disappearance and its resolution didn’t surprise me, however the darkness of  this storyline did. I wasnt expecting this book to get as dark as it did, but I am glad it did.

The storyline involving Red was surprising. I was truly moved by Red’s storyline and the family dynamic. I also really loved the relationship between Red and Gracie.

One aspect that I didn’t like about this book was the swearing. I understanded the need or desire for it in certain situations but over all it was just a little too much for my taste.

Cara Delevingne has created a truly unusual coming of age story that will take you to places you didn’t expect, but places you needed to go.

Mirror Mirror by Cara Delevingne is a book that needs to be read to be believed. A must read book for everyone.

 

Books That Made Me Think…

Once again, a pretty self-explanatory post. The following books made me think. I have learnt a lot about myself and the world through books and I am the person I am today in no small part because of the way these books affected me.

So without further ado, lets jump it…

After Bali by Jason McCartney: After Bali opened my eyes to the world around me. Bali being a tourist hotspot for Australian’s, the Bali bombing was heavily reported on. I was in my early teens and I half heartedly paid attention to the news. After reading this book, I started to take a real interest and what was happening in the world. I also learnt a lot about human suffering and resilience whilst reading this book.

Anna’s Story by Bronwyn Donaghy: I read this book in high school and it really resonated with me. As a teenager, I found myself with the ‘it wont happen to me’ attitude. After reading this book I no longer thought that. Given that Anna was close to my age and in a situation that I could have easily been in, I started to think ‘it could have been me’. This book helped to open my eyes and made me think before I acted, because no one is untouchable.

Where is Daniel by Bruce and Denise Morcombe: This book broke my heart. The Daniel Morcombe case really effected me. He was close to my age and the story was everywhere for such a long time. When I read this book I was blown away by this case. Getting to see the decade long investigation and how it all played out, gave me a greater appreciation for the police and everything they had to go through in order to solve this case.

Stronger Now by Nicole McLean: This moving story follows Nicole McLean’s journey and subsequent recovery after the 2003 Bali Bombings. This amazing memoir chronicles Nicole’s inspirational strength and resilience. After reading this book I was amazed by the strength one person can find within themselves. This book is a must read for everyone.

The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank: With limited knowledge of World War 2, I was unprepared for what I was about to read when I picked up this book. This book ignited my desire to study the Holocaust. It also gave me the maturity to understand that people are a lot worse of then I am and to live every moment the best I can.

Room by Emma Donoghue: This heartbreaking story chronicles a mother and son held in captivity for years. This book shows the extent of a mothers love and how far she will go to protect her child. This book broke my heart and has stayed with me since I read it.

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green: If you havent heard of this story, what have you been doing? This beautiful book follows teenage cancer patients as they deal with love, loss and living with cancer. This book changed the way I think about illness and in some ways opened my eyes to real struggles that are faced by far too many young people and their families. I honestly believe everyone would benefit from reading this book.

Schindler’s Ark by Thomas Keneally: The incredible book that lead to the making of the Oscar-winning movie Schindler’s List. This haunting book, tells the true story of Oscar Schindler’s efforts to save Jewish people during the Holocaust. This book is a book everyone should read at least once in their life.

The Normal Heart by Larry Kramer: After reading this book, something awakened inside of me. My desire for equality and my desire to try to be accepting and open-minded. This book broke my heart. Seeing the way these people were treated and knowing that this wasnt just an isolated situation got me fired up. I wish I could say that this are different now but that would be a lie. I just hope that one day we will see equality for all.

Holding The Man by Timothy Conigrave: This is another book that strengthened my desire for equality. Seeing these men and women and the struggles they went through for love just broke my heart. The world needs more Love and it shouldnt matter who you love. I was truly moved by this book and I hope im a better person for reading it. At least I try to be.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak: I love this book. An all time favourite of mine that change the way I look at the world. I have read many books about war and conflict but I never stopped to think about these situations through the eyes of a child. This book really opened my eyes to the children affected by war. This is something that I still think about today when reading about or seeing something about conflict. 

Well that’s it from me. Let me no if you have read any of these books and what you thought about them. If you think there is a book I should have included and didn’t let me no. Until next time…

Happy Reading…

❤ Gem

Rory The Dinosaur Needs A Christmas Tree by Liz Climo

‘When Rory the Dinosaur starts to get excited for Christmas, he notices that his island home doesn’t exactly have the best trees around for a festive holiday feel. So he and his dad set out to decorate their home the best way they can–but without the perfect tree Rory is worried that Christmas will be ruined! Can Rory and his friends save the spirit of the season?’

I adored this book…

This beautiful children’s book will get you and your family in the mood for Christmas. This fantastic book has an amazing, sweet story that is perfectly complimented by wonderful illustrations.

The Christmas spirit is alive and well in this amazingly beautiful children’s book.

As an adult reading this book I was genuinely surprised by how much I loved it. I was smiling from start to finish and was left with the warm and fuzzy’s.

Given how much I loved this book I can only imagine the pure joy it will bring to young readers and their families.

With Christmas just around the corner, this book is the perfect gift for young readers. All of the children in my life will be getting a copy of this truly beautiful book this Christmas.

Rory The Dinosaur Needs A Christmas Tree by Liz Climo is a must have book this festive season.

Minefields by Hugh Riminton

A Life In The News Game…

With over forty years in journalism, Hugh Riminton has been shot at, blown up and thrown in jail. He has witnessed famine, war and every kind of natural disaster in over fifty countries on four continents. Hugh has been a frontline witness to pivotal moments in history; The Port Arthur Massacre, The Thredbo Landslide, The IRA Bombings, The Balkans at War and the Rwandan genocide. As a foreign correspondent, Hugh has had the chance to meet some of history’s most important people; Barack Obama, John Howard, Malcolm Fraser and the late Nelson Mandela. Minefields in Hugh Riminton’s amazing story of forty years on the frontline of news.

I loved this book…

Starting with his upbringing in Sri Lanka, to his teenage years in New Zealand, really gives to reader a chance to understand what makes Hugh tick. The choices and chance meetings that led to Hugh’s amazing career make for a truly wonderful reading experience.

I loved the layout of this book. With so many stories to cover, the way in which they were broken down and told was fabulous. The stories covered in this book are mostly well-known events, so I already had an understanding of them as I was reading. Given that these events are so well-known I was glad that there wasnt an information overload. We got to read basic details and then Hugh’s thoughts and experiences. This format made for a really enjoyable read.

With some truly heartbreaking stories being told, Hugh does an amazingly insightful job in capturing the best and worst of human nature. His ability to capture a situation and relate it in a deeply emotional way is a testament to his amazing talent.

This amazing memoir is filled with both heartwarming and heartbreaking stories, that will not only enlighten the reader, but stay with them long after the final page.

Minefields by Hugh Riminton will open your eyes to the world around you and leave you in awe of the human spirit.

 

 

 

My Stephen King Collection…

With the release of the new IT movie and the release of Sleeping Beauties by Stephen and Owen King, I have decide it is time to talk about my Stephen King Collection. I love Stephen King, his books are some of my all time favourite reads. I just wish this collection was bigger. I have many Stephen King books on my wish list but until my wishes come true this is my collection…

 

Sleeping Beauties by Stephen King and Owen King

The Dead Zone

IT

The Stand

Salem’s Lot

Under The Dome

The Green Mile

Bag Of Bones

Carrie

The Shining

Cujo

Pet Sematary

The Mist

 

Well that’s it for my Stephen King Collection. Let me no if you have read any of these books or if you have read a King book that I don’t have but need to get ASAP.

Until next time…

Happy Reading…

❤ Gem